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Board of Trustees approve tuition hike and West Union funds

The Board of Trustees convened in Palo Alto this weekend to elect a new provost, approve tuition rates for the 2014-15 academic year and tour Stanford University's campus, among other items.

The trustees ventured to Palo Alto because Duke and Stanford have multiple similarities, said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations. He noted that Stanford and Duke are both major research universities with large medical centers and a strong athletic program. The trustees visited Stanford to discuss higher education and innovation and entrepreneurship.

Schoenfeld noted that the trustees had a "robust discussion" about tuition rates for the 2014-15 academic year before approving a 3.9 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, raising the cost from $44,020 and $45,800. The full cost to attend the University—which includes tuition, room, board and fees—will therefore increase from $58,278 this year to $60,533.

The trustees approved tuition increases for all 10 of Duke's schools, including a 4.9 percent change for both the Fuqua School of Business master's of business administration and the School of Nursing—to $58,000 and $40,365, respectively.

Schoenfeld said the trustees look at Duke's position in the market and the justification for costs prior to approving a new tuition rate.

"The tuition goes up because we continue to invest more in our students," President Richard Brodhead said. "The value of what we offer has risen significantly over time."

Jim Roberts, executive vice provost for finance and administration, said in a Feb. 21 National Public Radio blog post that the cost of tuition is actually a discount when you consider the investment going into each students' education.

The blog post noted that tuition goes to dorms, food, health services, administrative and academic support salaries and construction and renovations.

Schoenfeld said it is important to realize that not everything is paid for with tuition and that philanthropy, grants and gifts from the endowment all play a role in funding costs to run the University. He did note, however, that ongoing construction and renovations were considered when discussing tuition rates for the following academic year.

Riddell said the trustees voted to release another $5 million to order steel to continue the West Union renovation project. The overall projected costs of the renovations is currently $95 million, Riddell said, adding that a resolution passed at the Board meeting was to release only $40.3 million of the $95 million until funding is reassessed at the Board meeting in May.

The University received $80 million from the Charlotte-based Duke Endowment in
2011 to fund renovations to Baldwin Auditorium, West Union and Page Auditorium. The remodel of Baldwin began first and totaled $15 million. In May 2013, the Board of Trustees rejected the plan for the West Union remodel that was expected to cost more than $100 million, delaying construction and resulting in a redesigned plan intended to cost between $70 and $90 million, The Chronicle previously reported.

With renovations to Baldwin and West Union now expected to total $110 million—$30 million more than the initial donation for the projects—the changes to Page will be "largely cosmetic," said Executive Vice President Tallman Trask. Philanthropists are stepping in to help fund both the West Union and Page projects, he added.

In addition to their official Board meeting, the Trustees toured Stanford and the surrounding area.

Brodhead said he was inspired by Stanford's—an institute dedicated to designing solutions to identified problems.

"You see its potential relation to a place like Duke," Brodhead said.

Although there are many facets of Stanford's campus that are similar or could be translated to Duke's campus, it is important to recognize the differences between the two, Schoenfeld noted.

"Among the many things the trustees took away was that they are two very different kinds of places and that Stanford is blessed with both the resources and location that Duke simply doesn’t have," he said. "If you look at endowment, for instance, it's much bigger."

Duke has an endowment of $6 billion, whereas Stanford's endowment is $18.7 billion.

The Board also visited Google headquarters and had a private dinner with Tim Cook, Fuqua '88 and CEO of Apple Inc.

The Board of Trustees appointed Sally Kornbluth, James B. Duke Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, to be the next provost at their meeting Saturday.

Riddell said the selection committee formed by Brodhead to select the new provost selected four candidates. Brodhead then interviewed each of the four candidates, discussed his thoughts with the Executive Committee and brought forward an endorsement to the Board.


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